Members of officials’ OCC headed by unidentified person awaiting trial in Primorye

Members of officials’ OCC headed by unidentified person awaiting trial in Primorye
Igor Meshcheryakov

Members of the criminal scheme used to be engaged in the alienation of state-owned property and sold it at auctions for next to nothing to "their" companies.

Pronouncement of a conviction in the case of illegal alienation of state property for 500 million rubles is about to begin in the Primorsky Regional Court. The Prosecutor’s Office requests 12-year sentence for former Head of the regional department of the Russian Ministry of Property Relations Igor Meshcheryakov. Vladimir Knizhnik faces 11 years of strict regime, whereas others involved in the case – from 6 to 11 years of imprisonment. Former Deputy of the Primorye Legislative Assembly and Head of DV Stroysvyazkompleks Yury Stepanchenko, whose case has been severed from other charges, Head of the Department of Property Relations of the Primorye Administration Vladimir Knizhnik, former Director of Gosnedvizhimost Regional State Unitary Enterprise Andrey Smolin, former Director of the Federalnaya Logistika FSUE Far Eastern Branch Feliks Kruch, and local lawyers and businessmen are also in the dock.

However, as Kommersant reports, the "unidentified person" behind the organized crime community comprising 14 high-ranking officials and businessmen will not be punished.

Officials, businessmen and lawyers were found guilty of Creation of a Criminal Community (Art. 210 of the Russian Criminal Code), Swindling Associated with Illegal Alienation of State Property (Art. 159), The Legalisation (Laundering) of Monetary Funds or Other Property Acquired by a Person as a Result of an Offence Committed by Him/Her (Art. 174.1) and Abuse of Official Powers (Art. 285).

According to investigation, “members of the organized crime community fraudulently alienated state-owned properties in Vladivostok in the period from 2004 to 2007.”

In the words of ICR Spokeswoman in Primorye Avrora Rimskaya, the property would then be auctioned at a significantly lower price; only “insider” commercial structures would participate in those auctions. The investigation believes it is due to this scheme that the state suffered damage amounting to 547.5 million rubles.

The news agency notes that Meshcheryakov claims to be innocent and says that the main aim of this criminal case was the removal of Governor of Primorye Sergey Darkin from office.

According to him, it was planned to remove Darkin in anticipation of large financial funds for the preparations for the APEC summit in September 2012. Meshcheryakov stressed that the former governor had appeared in the case file for some time, but then there was the “unidentified person”.

Let us recall that in May 2008, searches were held in the office and private residence of the governor of Primorye as part of the investigation, and he himself was interrogated. Then the head of the region was urgently hospitalized with a diagnosis of preinfarction angina in the Vladivostok cardiac surgery clinic, but two days later, he left for Moscow. Upon return, he again took up his duties, and in January 2010, the Regional Legislative Assembly bestowed him gubernatorial powers for the third time.

In February 2012, Darkin was finally dismissed; however, four months later he became deputy minister of regional development, holding this position until 2014, when the department was disbanded.

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